(This is post 9 in a series that starts here).
Yes, when I realized and accepted Father's love, I thought I had it made. I thought I'd be full of joy forever. I thought my relationship with God was awesome now.
But. Things happened in my life. My dad died suddenly of cancer. My mom slowly left us, fading year by year into the foggy world of dementia, and finally left us completely one day. I hardly mourned my dad's passing, because I was just so relieved that he didn't have to watch his beloved slip away from him day by day. I barely mourned at all when my mom passed on; in fact, I actually (guiltily) sighed with relief, because I knew she had gone home to dad and Jesus, totally renewed. At the same time, sitting by her day by day, year by year as she drifted away, I had become terrified that one day the same end might happen to me too. And so with mom's passing, I quickly buried my fears and tried not to think of them - or her. Which only brought more guilt.
While this was happening, my five children were growing up, and one by one they left home. My greatest self-identity of the past 25 years, that of a mother, seemed to be stripped away, leaving me feeling empty, useless, unnecessary. Through unexpected circumstances, another important source of self-identity, that of being a teacher, also evaporated. And as I watched a much-beloved church family disintegrate around me in bitterness and pain and disillusionment, my years of busy, enthusiastic participation in church as I'd always known it, also disintegrated. I looked for substitutes, dreaming of moving to an island cottage, getting a good job, finding a nice little house church to join.
Even as those difficult life experiences happened, I still knew that Father loved me. He continued to show His love in so many ways. His Presence was always sure. He gave me a street church family to gather together with. He gave my husband and I the funds to make a downpayment on a sweet little townhouse. He gave hubby a new education and career, something he'd dreamed of doing all his life, that would also provide for our needs. He gave us lots of beautiful grandchildren!
But somehow I still needed something solid, tangible, to hang onto. Even though I was sliding into dark days of depression, I never stopped loving Father, never stopped knowing His love. But I was still missing something. Or Someone. Someone I could "grasp." Someone who could be seen and held. Someone "real." Human. But more than human, too, more dependable, more loving, more sure.
I believed in God, for sure. I could with certainty say that I was in relationship with God. But somehow I wanted, needed, to SEE Him. Like the disciples. "Show us the Father." And then Jesus answers, "If you have seen me, You have seen the Father." Jesus, the human, physical, historical, God-in-the-flesh man. God incarnate.